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The 61st Spring Meeting of the American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law attracted a record crowd to Washington, D.C.
The meeting drew more than 2,700 individuals from the United States and abroad for an array of programs, including sessions with an international theme. Close to 60 countries and more than 500 international guests were represented at the meeting, said Roxann Henry of Morrison & Foerster LLP and program officer for the section.
Henry said the content of the program is the big draw. “The depth and sophistication of our coverage of antitrust issues is unparalleled,” she said. “Plus, competition law itself is getting greater recognition around the world. The U.S. has a lengthy history [in antitrust law], and we bring together here a lot of the key international thinkers.”
The conference has developed a reputation in Europe, said Carten Krueger of CDC Consulting in Germany. “It’s the best opportunity to meet people and to get a trans-Atlantic view of the issues,” he said.
Kyra Bromley of Debevoise & Plimpton in New York said more people are coming to the conference because of the international focus. But another advantage is the ability to meet people face to face.
Deena Schneider, the moderator of a panel on bundling discounters, agreed that getting to meet others in person offers real value. She noted that she was just meeting some of her fellow panel members for the first time, some of whom she had worked with previously. “You get to meet people from all areas of law, from the press, even plaintiffs’ lawyers,” she said.
Besides networking for business, Mike Kipling of Kipling Law Group in Seattle said the educational component is the hallmark of the conference. He said he enjoys learning about cases that are similar to the ones he litigates.
“The panels and discussions are timely,” added Michaelyn Corbett of Navigant Economics. “They are presenting issues of current interest.”
She also agreed with Kipling that networking with people in meetings was invaluable.
The conference even drew young law students like Samantha Morelli of George Mason University in Arlington, Va. The first-year law student attended the conference for the first time to get a hold of “the basics and more” to prepare for a Federal Trade Commission internship she has this summer.
Overall, the goal is to try to give “really balanced coverage,” said Henry of the conference.
“On the consumer protection side, the conference is offering more expansive coverage, with greater recognition of how consumer protection is a critical part of trade regulation,” she added.